Gays have a problem. Sorry, did I say gays? Gays and lesbians. Well, and bisexual people. Oh, and transgender folk too. Oh, fuck it, let’s embrace the whole panoply of alphabet-soup abbreviations: LGBTQQUCIT2SAAPHO people have a problem (to use the full list of possible variants Wikipedia offers): what the hell do we call ourselves? It depends who you are and what your aims are, of course, but I want to briefly put the case for my preferred adjective, the underused queer, the Q in LGBTQ. First, though, let me explain why names are important.
One popular theory about names is that they are just labels we attach to things that are already there. This is the belief Juliet is espousing in the speech which includes her famous ‘rose’ line:
“’Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.”